ATLANTA — Tommy Hanson loves having complete control over his whole repertoire.
Fastball, slider, curveball, changeup. Hanson wasn’t afraid to throw any of them.
“I know if I’m commanding my pitches and I’ve got my stuff working, I can go out and compete with anybody,” he said. “These are the days when it’s fun to pitch.”
Hanson pitched seven scoreless innings, Troy Glaus drove in two runs and the Atlanta Braves returned to their winning ways at home with a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
Atlanta has won 10 of its last 11 at Turner Field and is 20-7 overall at home this season.
One night after stranding 14 runners in a 10-4 loss to the Rays, the Braves took a 3-0 lead with two outs in the third on Brian McCann’s RBI double and Glaus’ two-run single.
“Good night with the lumber,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.
Facing the Rays for the first time, Hanson (7-3) made the early edge stand up. He allowed three hits and struck out six, improving to 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA over his last five starts.
After Hanson left for a pinch-hitter, Peter Moylan got the first two outs of the eighth, and rookie Jonny Venters recorded the game’s last four outs despite Ben Zobrist’s broken-bat RBI single and Dioner Navarro’s pinch-hit RBI double in the ninth.
Rookie Wade Davis (5-7) lost his third straight start. He dropped to 2-6 with a 6.48 ERA over his last eight starts.
“That one was tough to swallow,” Davis said. “I felt good. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes. They had some hits that found holes.”
After the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon was still upset that umpire Paul Emmel ruled that Hanson tagged out pinch-hitter Hank Blalock at home plate for the second out of the sixth.
With Carl Crawford batting, the ball bounced away from McCann, but the Atlanta catcher threw quickly to Hanson for the tag.
Maddon left the dugout to argue with Emmel, but was turned away.
“We had a good opportunity, and the call went against us,” Maddon said. “That threw the momentum back in their favor. I never argue based on replay. I argue based on what I see. It didn’t just change the inning. It changed the whole game.”
Said Blalock: “I did some aggressive baserunning to get our team back in the game.”
“My only comment is that the replay showed I was safe. That was a big part of the game,” he said.
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Hanson stranded runners at second and third on Evan Longoria’s flyout.
Atlanta went ahead 4-0 in the sixth on Eric Hinske’s fifth homer. Melky Cabrera and Martin Prado added RBI singles in the eighth for a 6-0 lead.
Prado, who went 3 for 5, increased his NL hits lead to 95.
“First of all, you’ve got to be patient,” Prado said. “Just hit it somewhere. No secret.”